Cartography is the study and practice of making maps. Combining science, aesthetics, and technique, cartography builds on the premise that reality can be modelled in ways that communicate spatial information effectively.
The funny thing about cartography is that it’s never finished because the maps that we make change and alter due to changes and physical circumstances or political circumstances or interpretations.
But maps aren’t just of places and of countries, maps can be of anything.
Over many years now, I’ve practiced a mind map technique to organise the mess inside my head and this has developed on more and more in recent years.
For me, it usually starts with a moleskin or an A4 sheet of paper and historically I draw a circle in the centre with me in it and then with lines extending outwards; I was able to ‘dump’ everything that was in there, freeing me up to start to organise.
I’ve kept many of these over the years and watched them grow and change and started a new one on the 31st December 2020.
It’s now developed into a grid so, imagine a horizontal line on a vertical line and where they intersect as me in the top right-hand side itself which concerns adventure and health and the bottom right hand grid is family which concerns mentoring and support (that’s number 2).
Number 3 in the bottom left-hand side is relationship – friends, marriage, anything else in the relationship box that’s important.
Number 4 in the top left-hand side is work which concerns contribution.
I can then take each of the quadrants and expand on the things that I want to have in those and try to plot a chart or path for a set period of time going forwards.
Am I a bit mental?
The Wikipedia page on mind maps probably suggests otherwise and would show that there is definitely a sub-culture of people who subscribe to this way of thinking.
What’s best for me when my head is full but also allows me to return back to what I said I wanted to do and to see whether I’m still on that track and if I’m not whether I’ve actually made a conscious decision to move off it.
In 2011, six months away from my 40th birthday, I did a big mind map project and wrote about what I would like to do and to be and to see over the next 10 years.
That mind map ‘runs out’ in the summer of this year and it’s fascinating to see how things have changed and how things haven’t.
In a bizarre turn of events, I’m still driving the same car and I live in the same house and I have the same wife and the same children.
I have one less practice and one more teaching business, I earn less money annually but have more assets.
I’m lighter and on balance fitter and I think generally healthier.
It wasn’t as a result of the mind map that I got here but it certainly helped me set my values and my focus on what I wanted to concentrate on and that’s what I hope to do next.
I’m not brave enough to set the next one for the next 10 years so, I’ll set it to 55 and see what happens.
This is not a rigid process which denies opportunities or the chance to explore elsewhere, it more provides a set of principles to protect me from being distracted by shiny, bright objects.
I hope you’ll try it, almost certainly in private first before you’re able to share it with someone else.
Blog Post Number - 2616